Wetzel v. Westinghouse Electric Corp.

258 Pa. Super. 500, 393 A.2d 470 (1978)

From our private database of 45,900+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Wetzel v. Westinghouse Electric Corp.

Pennsylvania Superior Court
258 Pa. Super. 500, 393 A.2d 470 (1978)

  • Written by Sheryl McGrath, JD

Facts

In 1975, Willy C.J. Wetzel (Willy) was insured by a life-insurance policy that provided benefits if Willy died through accidental means. The named beneficiary on the policy was Willy’s spouse, Mary Margaret Wetzel (Wetzel) (plaintiff). Willy was a martial-arts expert. Willy’s son, Roy, was also a martial-arts expert. Roy and Willy operated a martial-arts school together. In March 1975, Roy prepared Willy’s income tax return for Willy. When Willy came to Roy’s home and reviewed the tax return, Willy became enraged. Willy walked toward the front door muttering about losing all his possessions. Willy then grabbed a Hawaiian sword, yelled “kewah!” and started to unsheathe the sword. Roy wrestled the sword away from Willy until the sword bent, but Willy continued to fight Roy without the sword. The two men fought strenuously for about 25 minutes, and then Roy was able to wrap nunchaku sticks around Willy’s head to subdue Willy. Willy then died. The local prosecutor charged Roy with murder and voluntary manslaughter, and the criminal case went to trial. The jury acquitted Roy on both charges, and the criminal court entered judgment on the verdict. Wetzel submitted a claim for Willy’s life-insurance proceeds. The insurance company denied the claim on the ground that Willy’s death was not through accidental means. Wetzel sued the insurance company for benefits. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the insurance company. Wetzel appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cercone, J.)

Dissent (Van Der Voort, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 735,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 735,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,900 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 735,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 45,900 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership